Letter: SAD 51 budget produces efficient performance

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The administration, faculty, and students of SAD 51 have, for years, produced outstanding results for the community. By any measure our students thrive, flourish and provide richness and benefit to the communities of Cumberland and North Yarmouth. The question that is rightfully asked is at what cost are these results produced and are the citizens and taxpayers receiving a good value.

The Finance Committee takes this question seriously and utilizes a number of independent assessments. The district compares favorably to state performance standards, our annual financial audit produces exemplary results, and management of our debt and bond rating receives high marks from our advisers. These results are not simply score cards, but rather tools to help assess the efficiency of our spending divorced from anecdote and conjecture.

The outstanding results of the district’s efforts and our ability to deliver these outcomes efficiently were confirmed by another independent study from USM’s Education Policy Research Institute. This study found that SAD 51 is “higher performing,” meaning that it produces results better than would be predicted given students’ characteristics and academic performance in earlier grades. It also concluded that SAD 51 is “more efficient,” meaning it has a return on spending better than the statewide average and better than predicted.

These independent assessments lead me to believe that SAD 51 is both high performing and efficiently administered. I encourage you to vote in favor of our proposed budget on June 7 at Greely High School and at the budget validation referendum on June 12.

Todd Nicholson, SAD 51 finance chairman
North Yarmouth